The St Albans Archaeological Rescue and Research Group (SAARRG) 1966-72

A history of SAARRG

By Roderick Douglas

 

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The St Albans Archaeological Rescue and Research Group (SAARRG) 1966-72' page
The group was formed in 1966 under the leadership of Vagn Christophers, the museum’s conservator, and included a significant number of pupils from local secondary schools.  During the six years of its existence, the group carried out excavations and watching briefs on nearly 60 sites, in a period of rapid development in and around St Albans.

See article by Michael Freeman in SAHAAS Newsletter 194 for a more detailed history.


The main sites excavated by members of the group in St Albans

1966 St Michaels, remains of a Roman timber structure and bronze patera. 

Photo:Remains of Roman timber structure

Remains of Roman timber structure

SAARRG

Photo:Remains of bronze patera

Remains of bronze patera

SAARRG


1966 Gentles Yard (now Christopher Place)

1967 Blue House Hill, remains of Roman building and early Christian inhumations

Photo:Remains of Roman building

Remains of Roman building

SAARRG

Photo:Early Christian inhumations

Early Christian inhumations

SAARRG


1967 Vicarage gardens, St Stephens

1968 Sopwell Lane

1968 Cottonmill Close 

1968 Mud Lane (near Westminster Lodge)

1968/9 Abbey Orchard, remains of sewer and a C8 hoard of Saxon coins. 

Photo:Remains of sewer

Remains of sewer

Herts Advertiser

Photo:C8 hoard of Saxon Coins

C8 hoard of Saxon Coins

Herts Advertiser


1970 Holywell Hill, remains of clay tobacco pipe kiln. 

See report Hertfordshire Archaeology, Vol. VI (1978)

1972 Blundells, High Street. 

Photo:Blundells site

Blundells site

SAARRG


1971/3 King Harry Lane, Iron Age and Roman remains, including Mercury statuette. 

Photo:Mercury statuette

Mercury statuette

St Albans Museum

A full listing of sites was produced in 1996 by Alison Turner-Rugg for St Albans Museums.  See gazetteer

 


 

Initially the group was based in a room at the Goat Inn, Sopwell Lane, where an exhibition was organised in January 1967. 

Photo:Exhibition at the Goat Inn, Sopwell Lane

Exhibition at the Goat Inn, Sopwell Lane

SAARRG

Photo:Exhibition at the Goat Inn, Sopwell Lane

Exhibition at the Goat Inn, Sopwell Lane

SAARRG


 

In 1970, the Brett Centre on Victoria Street was equipped for use by the group. 

Photo:The Brett Centre on Victoria Street

The Brett Centre on Victoria Street

SAARRG

Photo:The Brett Centre on Victoria Street

The Brett Centre on Victoria Street

SAARRG

 


 

To gain publicity and raise money for the group, members attended local village fetes and took part in the St Albans carnival. 

Photo:Village Fete

Village Fete

Herts Advertiser

Photo:Village Fete

Village Fete

SAARRG

 


 

The group’s activities attracted many young members to the Society.  The 1969 SAHAAS membership of 305 included 55 juniors.  By 1972 most of these had moved on to university or employment.  At least four members of the group subsequently became professional archaeologists or worked in museums.  Two have in recent years been awarded MBEs for their achievements.  See career profiles

 


 

In 2016 it is planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the group’s first excavation, and to make contact with as many as possible of the original membership.  For more information about this, or any of the group’s past activities, please contact  denley.lane@ntlworld.com

 

 

This page was added by Roderick Douglas on 27/10/2015.

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